This morning, the first one of astronomical autumn, I felt the need to draw things autumnal. What better than oak leaves and acorns, mushrooms and pumpkins and a smattering of berries.
This wasn’t quite what I expected to flow out of my pen. Although the elements are stylised, there’s also a lot of contour line work and stippling to bring some volume and texture to the design. It’s a bit like an etching, lino cut or woodcut. A bit.
I can see where I started adding precise contour lines, but then they became much more expressive.
I’ve just added a coloured background to my drawing for now. I’m not sure about how to add colour yet. Do I risk messing it up by using traditional media? Or do I play safe and add colour digitally? At the moment, I don’t know. But there’s no rush. The image is scanned in and saved safely on my hard drive.
All I will say, for now, is that I really enjoyed drawing this. And I quite like it, even when considering the yeuchier areas of stippling.
Today is the last day of astronomical summer; tomorrow is the autumnal equinox, the first day of astronomical autumn. Autumn is my favourite time of year. I love the warm, balmy days and the cooler, snuggly evenings cwtched up under a warm blankie. The changing colours are glorious – nature in her fiery finery!
I’m hoping that the glories of autumn will entice me out from home a bit more often, camera in hand. I can hope. I’m still finding it hard to go out and about. But little by little, I am getting out a bit more, from time to time.
Anyhoo, today’s colouring page is an autumn-themed mandala. Now I know that for those south of the equator, spring is incoming for them, but Hallowe’en and Thanksgiving and other celebrations take place according to the calendar rather than the seasons. So though I’ve coloured this template in rich autumn tones, it could be coloured in any way you wish.
I love to draw mandalas, and this one was no exception, especially the cute, whimsical mushrooms and pumpkins! And not forgetting the acorns and oak leaves too. I even managed to sneak a few hearts in there. And of course, stars and moons, berries and botanicals are always most welcome!
I really enjoyed drawing this tiny tile this morning. I love the soft, muted green tones of the paper and the the way the Inktense pencils I used to add colour, shade and light work so well with it. The bright white touches of a Sakura Soufflé pen shine so bright against everything else.
The paper is a 6cm x 6cm (approx. 2.4″ x 2.4″) piece of grey-green ClaireFontaine PaintON mixed media paper.
My first step was to draw a single cell, or fragment, of the Zentangle pattern Well. and I added a variation to that pattern. To fill in the sections created, I used the tangle patterns Purk and B’tweed.
This will eventually be one of my little Random Acts of Kindness cards, once I work out what message to put on the back and whether I’m going to hand letter it or print it out. I have not practiced my hand lettering much lately, and I think it shows. But maybe I’m just being overly harsh on myself, I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that I love creating these tiny drawings as much as I do my larger ones. I love the cuteness of the size very much.
I was at a loss as to what to do in terms of art today. Inspiration was lacking. But a sudden thought came into my noggin and I though, “I could do a small drawing, stop-motion”. So that’s what I did!
It’s only short – 58 seconds to be precise, or is it 57 seconds? Either way, it’s short. And I make absolutely no apology for the silly music! I needed a smile today and I hope that this little video will bring a smile to others.
I have a lot to learn about stop motion, especially sorting out lighting. But it’s always been fun to to do, and so I will again at some point in the future.
I had an idea. It may not be a great idea. It may not be executed in the best way today. But it’s a start, but first, some background as to how this idea came about before I explain myself.
Last week, I went to a local café for a late lunch. So late that it was almost tea time! The first time I’ve been out for lunch by myself since the start of the Covid pandemic. I’ve had lunch out three times with a friend in this time, but I still rarely leave my home for such things.
It was a lovely lunch, broccoli and stilton soup with a large pot of tea. The people working in the cafe were lovely and helpful. The food was delicious and beautifully presented. I was made to feel very welcome there.
So, it took a few days, but yesterday I woke with an idea. Why don’t I do some tiny artworks to leave for people to discover. Little notes to thank those who run a café or restaurant. Little notes of kindness, inspiration, or compassion are on the back for strangers who may need to read them. Little notes to brighten up someone’s day. And maybe put my email address/blog address on there. Maybe. I’ve not decided if that will be a thing, yet.
So, the first step was to see what sizes of little envelopes I could buy. I really wanted glassine ones, so the tile is protected but visible. But the only tiny ones I could find were 6.5cm square (that’s 2.5″). So some have been ordered, and some watercolour card has been cut into pieces 6cm square, ready to use! The tiles in the image are 6cm square in size. So quite tiny!
The others I found are so sweet. They have a heart fastening on the rear flap and are made of kraft paper. Perfect! That way, what’s inside will be a surprise and, hopefully, a pleasant one for those who find it. These are a bit bigger at 10.5cm x 7 cm (approx 4.13″ x 2.75″), which is about the size of a gift card, business card or credit card. So, I cut paper to 10cm x 6.5 cm to fit these envelopes.
For this morning’s video, I decided to use two of the small squares. I started by colouring one side with Distress Inks. Then I drew the designs with various black fineliner pens. Next, I added more colour with Inktense pencils and a water-brush. Finally, highlights were added with white gel pens and a gold gel pen on the Aquafleur design. Not sure the gold pen was a good idea; I might have been better off using a dip pen and gold ink. It’s all a learning process!
Then, it was time to hand-letter a message on the back and decorate. This is where I think things went a tad to pot. In hindsight, I wish I’d coloured the reverse of the tile too, as, the white looks so stark. But they’ll do. My hand-lettering isn’t the best, but again it will do. My biggest problem is not letting the ink dry fully before erasing pencil lines and/or adding Inktense pencils. But they’re not too shabby…possibly.
What I may try doing, as these are test pieces, is using some Microglaze to seal them. Not only will it seal the Distress Ink, but will give a glossy finish that will bring out the colours more. The problem with Micro glaze is that it smears the black pen lines. But as these are test pieces, if that happens, I’ll learn not to do it again in the future, or use different kinds of pens. I wonder how the Dokumentas in the Twisbi’s will react to Micro glaze? That is an experiment I need to try out!
My only problem once I’m happy with this, apart from learning how to take better photographs of my work, is finding the courage to leave these things. The intense embarrassment and shame I know I’ll feel will be great. That will come out of the old fear that no one will like what I do or appreciate it or understand that it comes from a place of unconditional love and gratitude for our connections. And this is the reason why I’m dithering about whether or not to include my email.
I’ll work it out. I usually do, eventually! Until then, I have a small pile of tiles to decorate, Micro glaze and different pens to experiment with, and how to put messages on the back… part of me thinks printing them out and glueing them on could be a way to go. I have actually turned one of my hand-lettering styles into a font! Something else for me to think about.
Today was a day to draw some mushrooms! I do love them, especially the quirky, whimsical and cute ones. These fit the bill, I think, a little resplendent in their autumnal tones.
As far as I’m concerned, I don’t think there is such a thing as too much whimsy or cuteness. Ever. Though I may seemingly stray away from things cute and kawaii from time to time, it’s not long before I feel the pull to add some more whimsy to this worrisome world.
There’s such a huge variety of fungi on the Earth, so much inspiration to draw from. But today, I kept it fairly simple.
To add colour, I used Inktense pencils with a Kuretake Zig water-brush. Oh, and the ‘frame’ was coloured with iridescent gold watercolour paint. And that gave me the perfect excuse, not that I needed one, to scatter some gold dots around the background. Oh, the white dots on the ‘shrooms and foliage were applied with a Sakura white Soufflé pen. Its opaque white ink is perfect for this job, especially as it doesn’t seem to pick up any underlying colours. Must remember to get some more of them.
Today seems to have disappeared. I have been lost in arty pursuits since around 10:30. It’s now 14:49. The video that goes with the drawings has finally uploaded. The three drawings I started in the video are now all completed and shown here.
It’s actually been a lovely way to spend a Saturday. It’s beautifully sunny out, but there’s a coolness in the air that is absolutely delightful and so reminiscent of many early Septembers in the past. All I want to do is curl up in bed and listen to the sounds of the world outside; a car every now and then, the varied sounds of a rugby match, the twitter of birds and the clattering of jackdaws.
All of this has been a lovely soundtrack to do my art to! And I suppose I should talk about that.
Yesterday, I took a look at the tangle pattern Aquafleur. As I was drawing it, the way I made pen strokes reminded me of two other tangle patterns – Pepper and Dra-wings (or Drawings). So, I decided to look at them in today’s video.
One of my YouTube subscribers had left a comment saying they weren’t sure how to get their Aquafleur to spiral inwards like mine did. So, I started the video by showing how to do that.
And it was rather fortuitous that I was asked about that as it meant I had an example of Aquafleur to compare to Pepper and Drawings! The similarity is in how the various segments are shaped. But by some simple adjustments, you end up with three different end results.
Although I left each drawing incomplete at the end of the video, I did show in the Pepper and Drawings tiles how I was planning to add shade and light to them. I wasn’t even sure I would complete the Aquafleur, but I am glad I did.
I’m not sure whether I have a favourite out of the trio of tiles. Each has its own charm and allure.
Aquafleur is a lovely, organic tangle pattern that creates layers as you draw. The result is reminiscent of a flower, coral, seashell or sea plant. It’s also a bold, high-contrast tangle with a lot of dimension. It’s not a tangle pattern I can remember tackling, and the version you see above is actually my second attempt! I misunderstood the Aquafleur deconstruction by Zentangle Inc.
Like most tangle patterns, Aquafleur is quite easy to construct once you’ve made sense of the pattern’s step out (deconstruction).
I used a graphite pencil and a paper stump to add shadow to the purks (nestled orbs). Highlights I added using white charcoal on the purks and a white Gellyroll on the black sections.
But this design needed something a bit more. So, I got a dip pen and a bottle of gold acrylic ink and added stripes of gold to the Aquafleur. Then, I added a few sprigs of golden leafy loveliness to the design and called it done.
I rather like how this has turned out. I particularly like the opulence of the gold against the very graphic black and white. I decided to leave this motif and the sprigs as they were, nothing else added to fill the piece of paper. I could add a drop shadow around the Aquafleur to lift it up. However, I like it just as it is!
This week, I’ve designed a mandala full of layers and patterns. I’ve chosen a limited colour palette of soft greens, pinks, reds, oranges and browns; a softer, calmer selection of colours that have that late summer, early autumn feel.
I love drawing mandalas. Seeing the repeating pattern building up is both fascinating and relaxing. Adding colour to bring out the layers and breathe life into the design is a magical process. I’ve not done much with high contrast to bring out the dimension today. Gentleness is the approach needed today both to my art and to myself.
I find it fascinating how my colour choices are often softer, more muted and in limited palettes nowadays. It does make a change from the riotous colours that I so often used not all that long ago, and still do when it comes to the more whimsical and cute colouring books that I create for Creative Haven.
Seeing how others choose to add colour to the colouring page designs I create is also endlessly fascinating and varied.
This morning I just wanted to mess around with some fragments, and triangular ones seemed the way to go! ‘Fragments’ is the Zentangle term for the cells that make up a repeating pattern.
I started with a simple fragment of a circle (orb in Zentangle-speak) inside a triangle. All of these fragments have orbs as part of them, and I’m not sure if I’ve done many of them before.
I’ve written it before, and no doubt will again, that exploring both fragments and tangle patterns is an absorbing activity. No matter how often I look at one particular fragment, there are endless variations that can result. Some may be of use in a ‘reticulum’ (Zentangle-ese for the grid upon which a pattern is formed), others may just be for the experience of being curious and seeing what happens if I do x, y or z…
This is also a great warm-up activity. It gets my hand-eye coordination and fine motor control working well. My creative brain gets flexed and exercised too. It is also an opportunity to try out new drawing tools and media.
Another big benefit of this practice is that there is no pressure to complete a finished artwork. There’s the implied permission to make mistakes, for things to not work out. Indeed, I learn more from those that don’t work out or where a mistake is made than anything that works out well.
I’m always amazed by how many fragments can be made from a simple start. In this case a circle within a triangle.